Investigation Finds California Officers Were Legally Justified in Fatal Shooting of Safelite Tech
December 8, 2011

The San Bernardino County (Calif.) District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of an incident in which a Safelite technician was fatally shot by officers last December, and has ruled that the officers were legally justified in shooting James Murray, 20, of Joshua Tree, Calif.

The incident occurred on New Year’s Eve, according to a report by the San Bernandino County Sheriff’s Specialized Investigation Division. Witnesses say that Murray had been visiting a neighbor’s house, and was helping him to fix a refrigerator while drinking beer. Eventually, witnesses say Murray became intoxicated and started to become violent.

He allegedly threatened to shoot the friend he was visiting, and assaulted another person at the home, before he eventually left the residence and returned home in his Safelite truck, according to the report.

The friends with whom Murray had been visiting—just a few houses away from his own home—called the police and suggested they go to Murray’s home. One of the witnesses advised police at that time that “he was afraid that Murray would come back because the others had told him that Murray owned a 9-mm handgun.”

When police arrived at Murray’s home, they observed the Safelite vehicle in the driveway.

“The Safelite truck appeared to have been recently driven because the windows were still steamed up on the inside,” writes Deputy Justin Beaver, one of the officers involved in the shooting.

Beaver and his fellow officer, Deputy Timothy Preston, say they approached the door and knocked several times before Murray opened the door and “sprung or lunged from the doorway toward the deputy” and pointed a black handgun at them. Preston instructed Murray to put his gun down, according to reports, and, when he didn’t do so, Beaver fired his own weapon at Murray four to five times.

Murray later was pronounced dead and toxicology showed his blood alcohol content to be .26 percent at the time of the incident, according to the report.

The District Attorney’s Office has ruled that under the laws of self-defense and defense of others, the shootings by Deputies Beaver and Preston were legally justified. 

"As his friends and family continue to mourn his loss nearly one year later, they have our sympathy and support," says Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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